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Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau

Zazie in the Metro

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics Series
Literary Fiction   
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August 2010 Guest Editor Veronica Henry on Zazie in the Metro...

As a teenager I went through a horribly pretentious phase of reading existential literature. A lot of it was heavy going but not this, by Dadaist Raymond Queaneau. The story of a little girl who goes to say with her flamboyant uncle in Paris, the wordplay, even in translation, is phenomenal.

If you like Raymond Queneau you might also like to read books by Georges Perec.


Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau

Impish, foul-mouthed Zazie arrives in Paris from the country to stay with her female-impersonator Uncle Gabriel. All she really wants to do is ride the metro, but finding it shut because of a strike, Zazie looks for other means of amusement and is soon caught up in a comic adventure that becomes wilder and more manic by the minute. Queneau's cult classic was made into a hugely successful film by Louise Malle in 1960. Packed full of wordplay and phonetic games, Zazie in the Metro remains as stylish and witty as ever.

About the Author

An intellectual and polymath of the highest order, Raymond Queneau was, variously, a novelist, poet, essayist, lyricist, scriptwriter, translator, film director and amateur mathematician. Born in Le Havre in 1903, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, was involved for a while with the Surrealist movement, joined the prestigious reading committee of the publishers Gallimard and co-founded the Oulipo group, a literary workshop in existence to this day.

His main achievement in the eyes of the public, though, was to write Zazie in the Metro (1959), the thirteenth of his fifteen novels. Adapted for film, stage and comic-strip, it proved enormously popular - so much so that this leading light of the French literary establishment came to be overpoweringly associated in the public mind with his irreverent and entertaining creation. He died in 1976.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th February 2003


Raymond Queneau

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Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd


Counterpack - filled
176 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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